D. R. Congo
Two back-to-back standing figures.
These rattle/dance staffs belongs to the equipment of the master of ceremonies in the ritual connected with the initiation of boys. For this purpose the figures which represent the first male initiates "Matundu" and "Malanda", were wrapped with plaited raffia fiber, to which are tied numerous nutshells that make noise when agitated. The staff could also be planted in the ground to delineate sacred spaces and demarcate initiation proceedings.
(Leo Bittremieux's 1936 "La société secrète des Bakhimba au Mayombe. Mémoires.")
On a customised stand
Ex William Brill collection, New York City, NY, USA